Eucalyptus essential oil and Melbourne, Australia have a close association in my mind. The fresh scent and soothing remedies take me back to my transformative time in the city. It may seem a little obvious since nearly all eucalyptus trees are native to Australia, but the connection is also very personal for me.
Given how much I’ve traveled over the years, I have several favorite cities, but Melbourne is the place where I have the fondest memories. Interestingly, the story behind it all started in Canada. Most of my bouncing around the world in my childhood happened because my parents were career Commonwealth officials, and we never spent more than a few years in each country. I made friends in every new place we visited, but moving that much meant I was closer to my family more than anything.
We were in British Columbia in Canada for one of our shorter stretches. I had fallen in love with snow skiing, and I was so grateful to be in a place where I could hit the slopes every weekend. I knew our time was short, so I went skiing as much as I could and may have overdone it because I had an accident that involved a compound fracture in my left leg that left bone sticking out through my skin.
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After a tough recovery, I was able to regain my strength and was eventually walking again, but the doctors warned me never to ski again. I understood where they were coming from, but until I could ski, how could I say I was healed and whole again? My parents saw the pain in my eyes and made arrangements for me to stay with my grandparents in Australia. It was one of the few countries we hadn’t been to yet, and they knew how much I wanted to visit Melbourne. I was notorious for watching reruns of Wentworth, filmed there, and I had a habit of streaming indie rock stations. It turned out there was skiing available three hours from my grandparents’ house, and I was more motivated than ever to get back on the slopes. The doctors down there agreed that I shouldn’t try it, but my grandmother in her eternal wisdom connected me with alternative healers that took over where conventional medicine had decided to stop.
Eucalyptus and the Land Down Under
Before I could hope to start skiing again, I needed to get back in shape. I started working on the maintenance and trails staff of the ski slopes on the weekends, sometimes sleeping in a tent. I quickly noticed how much of the forest was made up of eucalyptus trees, also called the Tasmanian Blue Bum. This evergreen tree is native to the Australian continent and considered a primary food source for koala bears.
Folklore says that an early English settler in Oz nearly severed his thumb with an ax. His father was well-versed in the folk medicine of the Aborigines and had him wrap the wound in eucalyptus leaves before binding it tightly. A surgeon later checked the wound and was astounded at how quickly the thumb healed without infection.
As I would discover myself, the eucalyptus tree holds robust medicinal properties through its essential oils. As I worked hard on the slopes to build my strength up, I took some bumps and bruises, and eucalyptus essential oil was a soothing salve that helped me stay on my feet.
Melbourne (and Eucalyptus Essential Oil) Mended Me
My career still has me bouncing around the world, and I continue using eucalyptus essential oil in treating my sinusitis. I never know what allergies or sensitivities might strike in a new corner of the globe, and I recover much faster using the oil. It’s great as a natural pain reliever any time I get sore muscles from skiing or surfing, but it also just helps me breathe, which is as necessary on snowboards as it is on surfboards. Will my leg ever be the same as it was before my accident in Canada? I think not, but Melbourne and its alternative medicine helped me go back to doing what I loved once again. I’m grateful to my grandmother for introducing me to alternative medicines and eventually eucalyptus essential oil.
I never fail to see the irony that the Land Down Under got me back on my feet after my injury turned me upside down. My grandparents have since passed, but I still get back to Melbourne once a year to visit old friends and healers, and now I take my own kids to the same ski slopes where my seemingly impossible recovery finished with the help of eucalyptus essential oil. Now, no matter where I’m using it in my everyday life, the scent always brings me to Melbourne.
We hope you enjoyed this personal account by a fellow essential oil lover, Lucy L. Check out more Cityscape stories here!